My name is Giraffatitan, king of kings

April 30, 2015

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!


[Giraffatitan brancai paralectotype MB.R.2181 (formerly HMN S II), mounted skeleton in left anteroventrolateral view. Presacral vertebrae sculpted, skull scaled and 3d-printed from specimen T1. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.]

8 Responses to “My name is Giraffatitan, king of kings”

  1. Allen Hazen Says:

    Somebody ought to use “Ozymandias” as the name for a new taxon: preferably, given the poem, something known only from fossilized leg bones. (Wasn’t one of the discoveries of the AMNH Mongolian expeditions in the 1920s a Baluchitherium/Indricotherium/Paraceratherium… or rather its legs, preserved in an upright position? Prompting Anderson or Granger or maybe even Osborne to speculate that it was an animal that had gotten mired in quicksand?)

    (Sorry– I’m a mammal fan and keep thinking of things other than Sauropods! That IS an awesome image!)

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    Allan, that’s a great idea. A quick check at Nomenclator Zoologicus shows that the name Ozymandias has not been used for an animal. Someone should fix that. And, as you say, for a sauropod known only from feet or legs.

  3. Ha! I like that idea! But – the head (fallen, broken and half-buried) of the statue of Ozymandias was also described in Shelley’s poem, wasn’t it? So better make that the head as well as legs (just the 2 hind ones, to be strictly accurate?)
    However Shelley’s friend Horace Smith, I learn scant minutes ago, also wrote of an Ozymandias (apparently they were competing in this task) – but of a statue of which only one giant leg remained.
    So the name Ozymandias could be rightly bestowed on a fossil of either measure of scantiness.
    Go to it, ye seekers of the mighty that are fallen!

  4. […] in detail, and show that they are not as well known as we think they are. One of them is the Giraffatitan brancai lectotype MB.R.2181 (more widely known by its older designation HMN SII), the specimen that […]

  5. Benjamin Streit Says:

    Hi, SV-POW. My name is Ben, and I am a dinosaur enthusiast living in Canada. I have a hobby of modding a certain computer game to add dinosaurs, and I’ve been working on a Giraffatitan. I’ve run up against a problem while animating it, though; how did Sauropods swim? I’d imagine, with their heavily pneumatic bodies, that they’d float rather easily; what conclusions could we make about how high in the water they’d float, and what their posture would be?

  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    Well, Ben, you’re asking a really hard question there. Don Henderson wrote a paper in 2004 analysing sauropod bouyancy, which as far as I know is still the state of the art. You should definitely read that, but it doesn’t deal with the dynamics of swimming at all — only with static floating. That part, you’ll have to make up.

  7. Benjamin Streit Says:

    Thanks! That is actually extremely helpful. :) I’ll be sure to give it a read.

  8. Kenneth Carpenter Says:

    great view showing how wrong the coracoids are – too far apart.

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